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Insurrection at Antrim-*-Battles of Saintfietd and Bal* lynahinch—Proceedings oftlie rebels in the county of Wexford—Proceedings of the royal army—Mas* sacrcs at Vinegar-hitl—-Exception of Killegny— Attack of Vinegar-hill—Battle of Hore-toian— Massacres at Wexford—Surrendry of Wexford— Bloody Friday*—Progress of Father John—Attack of Hackets-toTvn—Slaugliter at Ballyellis—Further proceedings of the Wcxfordian insurgents—Their final dispersion—Modes of warfare of the rebels— Remarks on the rebellion.
In Ulster first had the system of United Irishmen been dangerously rooted; and there, from the spirit, tionatAn-the intelligence, and the habits of order of itsin1798. habitants, insurrection would have been far the most formidable to government. The scheme had been disorganized, as I have already related; but numbers were exasperated, ready to rise and be organized anew, as soon as they should be ascertained of the success of the conspiracy in the capital and the neighbouring counties. As in these, by the imprisonment of the chiefs, all success was prevented,
the disaffe&ed remained quiet in the north till news Chap. arrived of a seditious commotion in the county n?- « '-' Wexford, with three victories in succession over the royal army. Expecting that their example would be followed throughout the province, a considerable number assembled in the vicinity of Antrim, on the seventh of June, with design to seize the magistrates, who had appointed on that day a meeting there; and, making their attack at two o'clock in the afternoon, rendered themselves very nearly masters of the town. But they were dislodged by a body of troops, with artillery, under general Nugent, and pursued with the slaughter of perhaps near two hundred; not without the loss of about thirty of the royalists, among whom was lord O'Neal, a descendant of the ancient dynasts of Ulster, so formidable to English government till the end of Elizabeth's reign. Unsuccessful attempts were also made by small parties at Larne, Ballymena, and Ballycastle. Assembling on Donnegar-hill, the insurgents were assured that the rest of the northerns would not second their efforts, in consequence of intelligence received that the war in the county of Wexford was completely of a religious complexion, and that successful opposition in Ulster to the royal authority would tend to enable the catholics of the south to effect their great object, the extermination of protestants. In despair and dilgust, these malcontents, who were mostly protestants, relinquished all thoughts of further warfare; and, breaking, throwing away, or surrendering their weapons, dispersed to their several homes.
E e 2 Actuated"
Actuated in like manner as those of Antrim, a i number of insurgents assembled near Saintfield, in satnfi"id *ne county of Down, on the eighth of June, under a 179I9' leader named Jackson; and with furious resentment set fire to the house of one Mackee, an informer, where eleven persons are said to have perished in the flames. This was the only a6t of atrocity, except in battle, committed by the armed malcontents in Ulster, where the people are better educated than in the south, and possess more the principles of pure religion. Electing for their general Henry Munroe, a shop-keeper of Lisburn> they placed themselves on the ninth in ambuscade, awaiting the approach of colonel Stapleton with a body of York fencibles and yeomen cavalry. Here the royal troops would have been totally routed, if the infantry, on whom the cavalry were driven back with slaughter, had not, with a cool intrepidity, extremely uncommon, if not altogether singular, at this time in Ireland, rallied and dislodged the foe. Stapleton, having remained master of the ground, retreated to Belfast, having lost about sixty men, including three officers, beside Mr. Mortimer, a clergyman, vicar of Porta-ferry, who had volunteered on this occasion. At Baii na. kittle discouraged by this repulse, in which the JTtfjk"*loss of the rebels was perhaps not greater than that of the royalists, the bauds of Munroe, re-assembled, and took post at Ballynahinch, on the Windmillhill, and at the house and in the demesne of lord Moira, in number about four thousand. To the troops of general Nugent, who arrived on the twelfth
-with fifteen hundred men, they abandoned this Chap. hill, and the town, which lies in a valley between v—^--> the hill and the high grounds of lord Moira. On the latter they took post, and, in the next morning, cannonaded the royal army with six small cannons tied on cars, while shells were thrown against them from the opposite artillery. The cannonade continued three hours without execution on either side, while the town was in flames, which had been wantonly fired by the soldiery of Nugent. At length a close combat was commenced. The Monaghan militia, posted with two field-pieces at lord Moira's great gate, were driven by an impetuous charge of pikemen back on the Hillsborough cavalry, and both together forced in disorder from their ground. But what their valour had gained was lost to the insurgents by their want of ta6lics. Assailed in flank by other troops, which gave time for rallying to the discomfited, they were thrown into confusion, and retreated up the high ground to the summit. After a defence of this post for some time, they fled in all directions, and again assembled on the mountains of Slyeeve-Croob. Here, after consultation, influenced by the same arguments which had been successfully urged to the insurgents of Antrim, they finally dispersed. Their loss at Ballynahinch was about a hundred and fifty: that of the royal forces seems to be stated too low at forty. The execution followed of the insurgent leaders to complete'the termination pf this very local and short, but active and vigorous pommotiou, which must have been attended with
^ e § Consequences
Chap, consequences incalculable, if it had spread to extent xj^lj, .through the northern counties. Proceeding, f^ abandonment of rebellion in the northern
of the Wex
fordianre- province, while the rest of the kingdom, with a small 1798. exception, remained in a state of quiet, left the insurgents in the county of Wexford to contend almost alone against the royal troops. Since their repulses at Ross and Arklow, they were reduced to defensive warfare, and could only hope to maintain some posts, until forces should arrive to their assistance from France. Some in the mean time among them seemed resolved to annoy their opponents where opportunities occurred. Their chief force about Gorey, marching to Mountpleasant, in the county of Wicklow, burned the little town of Tinnehely on the seventeenth of June, and put to death some protestants as Orange-men. Many. more would have suffered on that imputation, if they had not been saved by the humane interposition of Mrs. Maher, a catholic lady. The surpri»al of Hackets-town, their next object of attack on the eighteenth, was prevented by the arrival of general Dundas with an army, who, leaving as a garrison in this town the yeomen of Tinnehely, styled the Truer Blues, pursued the rebels to Tinnehely, and thence to Kilcavanr hill. Here a junction was formed with the troops of Loftus, from Tallow, and an attack seemed to be intended skgaiast this post: but after a cannonade, with little execution on either side, and tremendous shouts of defiance from the rebels, with their bats raised on pikes according to their constant practice, 2 the